Problem solving is a full-time task in business. Whether you own the business, or have only a small role in daily operations, making decisions and solving problems is a key part of your job. The most effective people, and the happiest ones, are the ones who accept this reality, and even relish the challenges of overcoming the unknowns, rather than struggling and stressing with each.
If this doesn’t come naturally for you today, I assure you that it can be learned. In my own business career, many years as a business advisor, and mentor to aspiring entrepreneurs, I have validated the following strategies to practice and guide you. Each of these will help you in achieving success and satisfaction while tackling your toughest business issues:
Stop attacking symptoms – dig first for the root cause. A broken process or a subtle quality issue can generate a flood of customer satisfaction problems, cost overruns, and loss of market share. The right first step for every issue is the old “ask why three times” strategy to get to the root of the problem. Don’t waste time fixing symptoms.
Jeff Bezos is a huge proponent of root cause analysis, and believes it is what sets Amazon apart. Way back in 2004, he cared enough about an associate’s injury to spend time investigating, and used the exercise to isolate a root cause without blaming anyone.
Search for the multiple dimensions of a problem. Don’t oversimplify – most issues have a scope greater than one dimension. For example, your quality problem may well have both design as well as manufacturing elements. Fixing only one of these will only lead to more frustration. A better definition of a problem always leads to a better solution.
This same principle can also be applied to solving problems that are new opportunities. Elon Musk often talks about identifying all the dimensions of a problem, such as lower cost battery technology, as the key to moving the electric vehicle industry ahead.
Build and evaluate a list of alternative solutions. We are all prone to running with the initial solution that comes to mind, rather than comparing several to produce the best outcome. On tough issues, I recommend the use of brainstorming with colleagues, to expand your efforts, and develop a half-dozen alternatives. Then pick the best one.
Of course, this all has to start with you having the confidence and conviction that there is at least one solution to every problem, and that you can find it. Without this mindset, and the determination to make a decision, nothing happens, and customers find alternatives.
Build motivation through rewards and incentives. Team members, including yourself, who are not engaged or determined will ignore problems, or will give up too soon. All you will hear are excuses, or you won’t hear about the problem until it’s a crisis. Build that momentum by rewarding every team member for small successes and early surfacing.
Hold the right people accountable for delivering results. Ultimately, every problem and every issue needs a decision and a solution, not more study. It’s your job as a business leader to accept and assign responsibility, and then track the process to completion. The most damaging issues are the ones that never seem to get resolved.
Measure results to validate fixes and prevent recurrence. The positive impact of recognizing problems in a business is the clear indication that something more needs to be measured. Make sure that you implement a metric with each solution, to prevent the issue from recurring, and check for side effects and follow-on side effects.
Provide training and tools to upgrade solution skills. As the market and technology changes, you and your team need to learn new skills, and how to use new tools. Even the best business professionals and leaders must concentrate on learning something new each day, through mentors, Internet resources, and studying competitors.
If you are looking for more satisfaction from your work, or seeking to advance your career, then more focus on problem solving, utilizing the strategies outlined here, will definitely pay big dividends. If you are an aspiring entrepreneur, then adopting these strategies is critical to surviving and thriving in the uncharted world of startups. Put the fun back into your work.
*** First published on Inc.com on 08/26/2020 ***
The high-cost short term (HCST) lending industry has come under much scrutiny within recent years, as many have found to charge interest rates exceeding 1,000 percent. In response to these unmanageable rates, there have been major regulatory crackdowns to help restrict these infamous lending giants.
In the U.K., for example, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) have encouraged borrowers from these notorious lending giants to make claims on any loans they felt they were mis-sold. This included any loans that did not follow adequate eligibility and affordability checks, which led to financial debt.
The result on lending giants were fines in the millions, and sometimes hundreds of millions, falling into administration as a consequence.
While some of the most infamous of these lenders have now fallen, the demand for short-term finance remains substantial. In attempting to tackle this demand for finance a better way, both U.K.- and U.S.-based companies are offering salary finance products, helping those in need of finance to access funds via their salary before payday.
Salary Finance, for example, is just one of these payday alternatives for workers. The company is able to offer workers a salary advance, a loan (considerably low-cost), or the chance to save via the employer’s payroll.
The amount of pay that can be accessed by employees, as well as how frequently they can access it, is decided by employers. Employees accessing these advances will be required to pay a small fee, however, it’s significantly lower than that charged by notorious payday lenders.
Research by Salary Finance found that 48 percent of workers in the U.S. suffered from impaired finances. While financial problems are often stigmatized, Salary Finance are working with companies throughout the country to help change this, launching its core loan product in June of 2018, and hoping to launch similar products in the U.K.
In the U.K., a number of startups have launched as a response to demand for short-term lending in a fairer, more manageable way.
Fund Ourselves is a fintech company based in London, offering peer-to-peer (P2P) lending opportunities. Through the platform, borrowers can take out short-term loans for up to three months, with no early repayment charges, and a maximum interest charged of 0.8 percent a day. Additionally, if borrowers are struggling financially, an interest-free extension can be added to the loan (maximum 12 months), to help borrowers get back on their feet.
As a P2P platform, Fund Ourselves also offers people the opportunity to invest their money via lending to borrowers on the platform, returns of 5 percent to 15 percent per annum available.
Nadeem Siam, founder and CEO of Fund Ourselves, said he wants people to leave in a better financial position than when they started, and not worse off:
“We are totally committed to providing smarter and simpler ways to deliver financial services, helping individuals to borrow or invest in a self-serving marketplace that is easy and safe to use,” Siam said. “We believe we can empower people by disrupting the status quo with our fintech products and change the way people go about their financial lives.”
The post This Startup’s Innovative Platform Can Help Solve Your Finance Problems appeared first on StartupNation.
Hello guys, I am creating few startups and I have always had problem with naming. It makes me laugh, because I know that it is not the most important think, but I try to see every project as global, future-success product and I do not think about changing names.
How long do you think about name? How the process look? How do you make decision to use any name?